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Video of CHP officer altercation with woman sparks anger, investigation

CrimeHealth
Roadside video of CHP officer's altercation with woman is met with family anger

A video appearing to show a woman thrown to the ground and punched repeatedly by a California Highway Patrol officer has sparked an investigation as well as calls from the woman's family that those involved be punished.

The video, shot by a passing driver, shows the woman walking on the shoulder of the 10 Freeway near the La Brea Avenue exit when a CHP officer on foot catches up with her, spins her around and throws her to the ground. As he struggles to subdue her, the officer can be seen on the video punching the woman at least eight times in the head while she is pinned on her back by his weight.

A plainclothes CHP officer appears and helps the other officer pin her to the ground at the end of the video. The incident occurred on Tuesday, July 1.

The extent of the woman's injuries was unclear, but CHP officials told reporters at a Friday news conference that she was not injured and that she was undergoing a mental health evaluation. The woman's name is not being released, CHP officials said.

The woman's family reacted with anger to the incident.

"She's not just some animal," said attorney Caree Harper, who declined to name the woman. "She has an aunt, a sister, a brother, a father and a great-grandchild."

The woman is being treated at a mental health facility in South Los Angeles and doctors are not allowing the family to see her, Harper said.

"There is no justification for the way that he savagely beat her," Harper said. "He's the one that should be in a mental health facility."

CHP officials said the video captured only a small part of the incident. The officer was trying to stop the woman from walking into traffic and endangering herself and others, CHP officials said. They would not identify the officer but told assembled media that they would conduct a full investigation.

"We will leave no stone unturned," said CHP Asst. Chief Chris O'Quinn.

The woman's relatives have not contemplated a lawsuit because they haven't been able to determine her condition, Harper said. She declined to say why the woman was walking on the freeway but said that nothing could justify the officer's tactics.

"We are not going to let this woman be on trial," said Harper. "We're going to turn the attention on the wannabe MMA [mixed martial arts] cop who repeatedly punched her as she was lying on her back."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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